CBMA 2023 Process Follow up & Feedback

Posted 12/02/2022

The public comment period for the new 2023 CBMA refund process for imported alcohol (notice of proposed ruling) closed on November 22, 2022. In total, 15 comments were submitted. Below is an overview of the comments.

Impact on small businesses – Request for TTB to assess the impact of the proposed rule on small entities and consider less burdensome alternatives. Many commentors suggest continuing paying the lower tax at time of entry.

Time limits on assignment submissions – Suggestion to extend period until February of the following year to include suppliers who don’t issue assignments until the end of the year.

Quarterly Filing – Request for monthly filings instead of quarterly to reduce the impact on small importers. Suggestion to allow small and medium importers whose refund claim is $50,000 annually to have the ability to file monthly. 

Issues with data elements – If the supplier does not submit assignments until the end of the year then all entries will have to be corrected to include the proper data elements adding extra work and cost. There are no clear details on how to handle should the entry liquidate without the data elements. Suggestion to eliminate the data elements. 

Refunds process clarification – Request for the refund claims to be submitted via direct deposit with notice issued to filer providing details of the entries paid with the payment. Direct deposit would allow for a more timely refund and less paperwork processing for both parties. 

Express Authorization Statement – Request to have an express statement provided by TTB for foreign producers to use to assign importers or third parties as their registration agent.

Ownership Confidentiality – Many privately held companies do not want their ownership information disclosed to their importer or the US government and request a way to make this information private and to know how it is being used by TTB.

10% Ownership Requirements – Request for further clarification on the need to provide the 10% ownership details of an owner who also owns 10% or more of a company that is issuing credits. 

TTB and CBP online communications – Request to have the online interface between CBP and TTB to be continuous so TTB can access data immediately in order to expediently pay the refunds claims.

CBP Bonds – The new process will require importers to take on a larger surety bond potentially requiring them to maintain larger letters of credit from banks. An expeditious payment process will help relieve some of the increased bond requirements.

PSC and Protest Process – Request to provide more details on how this process will work with the new system, especially with liquidated entries.

TTB will review and reply to the comments in the coming months. Action, if any, to the ruling based on the comments could take much longer so please do not expect anything to change in the immediate future. Please continue with the process as the original ruling posed, and we will advise you of any changes to the ruling should they become available.